A Study on Soft-Core Processor Configurations for Embedded Cryptography Applications

Benjamin Kueffler, Wen Mei Hwu, Mohamed El-Hadedy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


FPGAs provide a platform for embedded designs to achieve impressive performance with minimal resources by targeting specific applications. This platform is especially desirable for embedded cryptography applications, which are increasingly needed in resource constrained embedded devices. In this work, tests were performed on the Xilinx MicroBlaze soft-core processor in order to accelerate the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) algorithm and determine the platform’s success under metrics such as power, performance, and logic utilization. Each of these tests enabled hardware features on the processor commonly used in embedded applications in order to determine the ideal configuration for RSA applications. Minimum area, high performance, maximum frequency, and frequency optimized implementations were produced in order to survey tradeoffs that exist within these various configurations. The result of these tests indicate that targeted hardware has the ability to achieve multi-fold performance improvements compared to hardware not optimized around the RSA algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Future Technologies Conference, FTC 2020, Volume 3
EditorsKohei Arai, Supriya Kapoor, Rahul Bhatia
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783030630911
StatePublished - 2021
EventFuture Technologies Conference, FTC 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Nov 5 2020Nov 6 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
ISSN (Print)2194-5357
ISSN (Electronic)2194-5365


ConferenceFuture Technologies Conference, FTC 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Embedded cryptography
  • FPGA
  • MicroBlaze
  • Soft-core processor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science


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